PH expects to win UN South China Sea case | Global News

PH expects to win UN South China Sea case

/ 01:19 PM July 04, 2015

Activists hold a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila's financial district on July 3, 2015 to protest China's reclamation works in the South China Sea, which the protesters have displaced Filipino fishermen. The Philippines has halted the repair of its airstrip in the disputed Spratly islands due to its pending suit at The Hague challenging China's claim over the waters, a presidential spokesman said on June 28.  Hearings at The Hague -- looking at whether Manila's complaint has legal merit as well as whether the court has jurisdiction over the case -- are set to begin next week.     AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO

Activists hold a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila’s financial district on July 3, 2015 to protest China’s reclamation works in the South China Sea, which the protesters have displaced Filipino fishermen. The Philippines has halted the repair of its airstrip in the disputed Spratly islands due to its pending suit at The Hague challenging China’s claim over the waters, a presidential spokesman said on June 28. Hearings at The Hague — looking at whether Manila’s complaint has legal merit as well as whether the court has jurisdiction over the case — are set to begin next week. AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines expects a United Nations tribunal to rule in its favor in an increasingly fraught dispute with China over territories in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), a presidential spokeswoman said Saturday.

Manila will argue its position against Beijing’s claim over most of the resource-rich sea at The Hague on July 7 to 13.

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READ: It’s make or break for PH at The Hague

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China has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings. The upcoming hearings will decide whether the tribunal has jurisdiction over the case.

“We prepared a strong case. We believe we stand on strong legal ground,” presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told government radio.

“We believe the tribunal will look at our case with favor. We are confident of the Philippine position on this matter.”

Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario will lead a government delegation to The Hague, assisted by US-based lawyers, foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

READ: PH power team to The Hague; UN tribunal to rule first on jurisdiction

If the Netherlands-based court decides it has jurisdiction, Jose said the Philippines would be asked to argue the merits of its case in another round of hearings.

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“We have prepared well enough for these oral arguments,” Jose told reporters.

The Philippines is among the most vocal critics of China’s South China Sea claims, which also overlap with those of Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Beijing has reinforced its claim by building artificial islands on disputed reefs.

Dwarfed by China in terms of economic and military might, the Philippines has turned to arbitration as it strengthened military alliances with the United States and Japan.

The Philippine navy held separate naval drills with their American and Japanese counterparts last month.

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The flashpoint South China Sea hosts major sea lanes over vast mineral reserves.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: Abigail Valte, arbitration, Charles Jose, China, Philippines, Protest, sea row, South China Sea, territorial dispute, The Hague, tribunal, United Nations, West Philippine Sea

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